The American Version of Goodwood Festival of Speed Is Coming to Detroit Area in 2021

Focused on the past, present, and future, the event will have something for everyone.

byJames Gilboy|
The American Version of Goodwood Festival of Speed Is Coming to Detroit Area in 2021

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is the envy of the automotive world every year, and nowhere does this envy run greener than in the United States. Americans tried to capture the Goodwood magic last year with the Sonoma Speed Festival in California's wine country—and somewhat succeeded—but come 2021 we'll try again. This time, however, there will be three days of festivities in Pontiac, Michigan, near the heart of the American auto industry.

Scheduled to take place in early Autumn 2021, the American Festival of Speed will be held at Detroit-area motorsports complex the M1 Concourse, which sits on the site of a former General Motors plant dating back to 1908. Like its Californian counterpart, this Michigan event seeks to be the U.S. equivalent of Goodwood and is directly modeled after the decades-old celebration of road and race vehicles. It too will approximate the hill climb with hot laps by performance cars, which it hopes will help poach the public (and thus automakers) from Detroit's North American International Auto Show.

"Static car shows have a problem. Manufacturers and the public want experiential events. We have all the senses engaged here on 87 acres," said Tim Hartge, Pontiac Motorsports Exposition CEO, in an interview with The Detroit News.

"We're modeling it after Goodwood, and we want manufacturers to come, too. The theme of both shows is Past, Present and Future, which is cool because we want to bring electric sports racing out here, too. We want to have a demonstration of these kinds of cars. And we'll give the manufacturers a chance to do a demo day if the want to bring out their Hellcats or their GT500s."

Pontiac won't get to welcome the American Festival of Speed until September 30, 2021, but it will give the public a taste of what's to come this coming September 13, with an event that'll occur in place of the canceled Woodward Dream Cruise. Called the Woodward Dream Show, it'll be a three-day display of Detroit-area car culture, supported by events such as a street car track takeover, an automotive-themed fashion show, and an evening afterparty on the event's first day. Acknowledging the reason for the Dream Cruise's cancellation, the Dream Show will enforce social distancing guidelines by limiting ticket sales and making gloves, masks, and sanitizers available to all attendees.

"Pontiac is the next place besides Detroit that is natural for rehabilitation," said Hartge. "Let's help the businesses here. The goal is to put Pontiac back on the map as an automotive capital."

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